Date: 14th century
a. archaic urgent or earnest solicitation
b. instigation, request <am writing to you at the instance of my client> c. obsolete an impelling cause or motive 2. a. archaic exception b. an individual illustrative of a category or brought forward in support or disproof of a generalization c. obsolete token, sign 3. the institution and prosecution of a lawsuit ; suit 4. a step, stage, or situation viewed as part of a process or series of events <prefers, in this instance, to remain anonymous — Times Literary Supplement> Synonyms: instance, case, illustration, example, sample, specimen mean something that exhibits distinguishing characteristics in its category. instance applies to any individual person, act, or thing that may be offered to illustrate or explain <an instance of history repeating itself>. case is used to direct attention to a real or assumed occurrence or situation that is to be considered, studied, or dealt with <a case of mistaken identity>. illustration applies to an instance offered as a means of clarifying or illuminating a general statement <a telling illustration of Murphy's Law>. example applies to a typical, representative, or illustrative instance or case <a typical example of bureaucratic waste>. sample implies a part or unit taken at random from a larger whole and so presumed to be typical of its qualities <show us a sample of your work>. specimen applies to any example or sample whether representative or merely existent and available <one of the finest specimens of the jeweler's art>. II. transitive verb (instanced; instancing) Date: 1601 1. to illustrate or demonstrate by an instance 2. to mention as a case or example ; cite
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.